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A book that argues that lessons in creativity, innovation, salesmanship, and entrepreneurship can come from surprising places: pirates, bootleggers, counterfeiters, hustlers, and others living and working on the margins of business and society.
Who are the greatest innovators in the world? You're probably thinking Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford. The usual suspects. This book isn't about them. It's about people you've never heard of. It's about people who are just as innovative, entrepreneurial, and visionary as the Jobses, Edisons, and Fords of the world. They’re in the crowded streets of Shenzhen, the prisons of Somalia, the flooded coastal towns of Thailand. They are pirates, computer hackers, pranksters, and former gang leaders. Across the globe, diverse innovators operating in the black, grey, and informal economies are developing solutions to a myriad of challenges. Far from being "deviant entrepreneurs" that pose threats to our social and economic stability, these innovators display remarkable ingenuity, pioneering original methods and practices that we can learn from and apply to move formal markets. This book investigates the stories of underground innovation that make up the Misfit Economy. It examines the teeming genius of the underground. It asks: Who are these unknown visionaries? How do they work? How do they organize themselves? How do they catalyze innovation? And ultimately, how can you take these lessons into your own world?
Alexa Clay is a storyteller and leading expert on subculture. She is the cofounder of the League of Intrapreneurs, a movement to create change from within big business and the Founder of Wisdom Hackers, an incubator for philosophical inquiry. Alexa initiates projects through the collective The Human Agency, which aim to create communities of purpose around the world. Formerly, she was a Director at Ashoka, a global nonprofit that invests in social entrepreneurs. When not operating in the world as Alexa, you can find her playing the Amish Futurist, an alter ego bringing Socratic inquiry to the tech scene. She is a graduate of Brown University and Oxford University.
Kyra Maya Phillips is a writer and innovation strategist. She is a director of The Point People, a network based consultancy focused on innovation and systemic change. Previously, Kyra worked as a journalist for The Guardian, where she focused on environmental reporting, and at as a consultant at SustainAbility, a London based think-tank and consultancy. She grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, but is now based in London, where she lives with her husband and son. She is a graduate of The London School of Economics.
Together, Alexa and Kyra have appeared in and written for Wired Magazine, Harvard Business Review, Le Monde, The Guardian, The New York Times, Haaretz, Aeon Magazine, Fast Company, MTV, Forbes, Dazed and Confused, and National Geographic.